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Old 14-06-2011, 11:40   #1
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Idiot Needs Anchoring Advice ( Please )

I need some real world help/advice in the anchoring department. I'm preparing for my second bareboat charter (first in the BVI). My first anchoring attemps (on first BB charter) were an absolute fiasco. I'm sure there are forum stories about me and my anchoring attempts.

The problem is that I sail at a club where we always come back to a mooring ball. So I never get to anchor. My sailing lessons involved dropping the anchor once.. but that was about it.

To give you some context.. I will be charting a 43'-45' monohaul in the BVI. Here is what I know.

1. Pick the right spot (I need some help here). Insure that at lowtide there will be enough depth for the boat's draft.
2. Drop the anchor and start immediatly back up directly downwind.
3. Let out 5:1 to 7:1 scope. So, I'm assuming that is (depth at high tide + 4' above the waterline) * 7. For 12' of high tide depth.. that is (12+4)*7 = 112'.. which seems like a lot.
4. Continue backing to "set" the anchor.
5. After you feel the "set", continue with reverse gear and give it some throttle to insure that the anchor holds.

My problem is:
1. If I come into a crowded anchorage.. how should I select my spot? I realize that if I end up abeam another anchored boat.. my stern is likely to clip their bow (or vice versa) if the wind shifts 90 deg. So, I'm assuming the best place to drop is directly behind another anchored vessel? What is the best etiquette?

2. On my first bareboat charter (Croatia).. the water depth dropped of rapidly from the shore. We felt forced to anchor near the shore due to the depth. The problem was... a wind shift.. even for a little bit.. would put us on the shore. We thought about putting an anchor off the stern.. but the depths would be > 30'. What do you do in this case? Is this an issue in the BVI?

3. When retrieving an anchor using an electric windlass... do you start pulling up the rode the second you start to motor forward?

4. We did such a poor job of anchoring (and were so close to shore) on the first trip that we established an all night anchor watch. Does anyone else do this or do they "set it and sleep"?

5. How much wind can you expect to handle before you should worry that the anchor will drag (giving average anchoring conditions)?

Thanks to ANYONE who can provie ANY advice!
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Old 14-06-2011, 11:53   #2
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Re: Idiot needs anchoring advice (please)

Idiot..... excellent questions!!!
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Old 14-06-2011, 12:03   #3
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Re: Idiot needs anchoring advice (please)

Careful when backing down on that anchor. You can jerk your windlass right out of its bedding if you aren't careful.
Also, try anchoring further away from other boats until you become comfortable/proficient at anchoring.
As for anchor watch, leave your plotter on and watch the bread crumbs. If they form a semi-circle, you are holding. If you get a zig-zag track, you're dragging.
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Old 14-06-2011, 12:17   #4
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Re: Idiot needs anchoring advice (please)

112' isn't that much try to anchor at least that far from the other boats. I've had to maneuver around several times looking at drift and the direction the other boats in the anchorage were pointing.

Dropping behind another boat isn't that bad of a move. If they are at the extreme end of their swing, and you have the same scope out, there should be no chance of intersecting.

Sometimes when the wind or current changes, I've found I didn't like the new lay, and pulled anchor and moved. Some times I've done this when I didn't like the other boat that dropped anchor in my swing radius, or was using too little scope up wind from me.

If the bottom is too steep check the chart for a better spot. I've slept at anchor, and stayed up all night constantly checking for drag. In the end once you've cleared a circle to swing in and set that anchor as best you can, only you can determine if you are anchored securily in a compfortable spot.

If it gets rough, and other boats are dragging, you just might not get any sleep.
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Old 14-06-2011, 12:18   #5
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Re: Idiot needs anchoring advice (please)

Pracitce practice practice anchoring
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Old 14-06-2011, 12:21   #6
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Re: Idiot needs anchoring advice (please)

You can sail about anywhere you like in the BVI and have a mooring ball every night.
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Old 14-06-2011, 12:25   #7
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Re: Idiot needs anchoring advice (please)

I always let my anchor settle down before backing (the mate does this), then slowly back down while playing out the rode, usually to 5 to 1. Rode is all chain, then I'll have the mate increase thrust to check holding. If it's an open exposed anchorage I'll go to 7or8 to 1, and/or run a stern anchor/line(I carry 1200' for this), and check several times the first hour and every hour or so. If a drag were to occur,it's audible from inside. With my ground tackle I dont change/worry until 25/30 knots sustained wind, though I don't have an anometer to confirm this. The way I understand it, some charter boats lack adequate tackle, though I've never been fortunate enough to find out. Practice is the best teacher, experience will bring comfort to your situations. If you're unsure in a crowded anchorage, ask the boat closest to you what their scope is, both of you will sleep better. I never set an alarm, I don't want to waste the electricity.
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Old 14-06-2011, 12:27   #8
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Re: Idiot needs anchoring advice (please)

i dont have any troubles anchoring--i drop my 45# cqr and about 30 ft of chain in 10-20 ft then add much more after i stick--if deeper--i place about 50 ft down and back gently until stuck..then add 100 ft. in 27 ft water with a muddy floor, i am down with 140 ft or 150 ft. i stay stuck. i donot use my gps as a substitute for my own eyes in taking bearings--i am able to tell faster than is the gps if i am dragging or not-- found htat to be true last yr with a guy who cant get his anchoring down...LOL..always drags....
practice never fails to help technique.
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Old 14-06-2011, 12:31   #9
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Re: Idiot needs anchoring advice (please)

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdeese View Post
2. On my first bareboat charter (Croatia).. the water depth dropped of rapidly from the shore. We felt forced to anchor near the shore due to the depth. The problem was... a wind shift.. even for a little bit.. would put us on the shore. We thought about putting an anchor off the stern.. but the depths would be > 30'. What do you do in this case? Is this an issue in the BVI?
Set the anchor and set two rodes at around 60 deg on both sides of the bow to the shore.
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Old 14-06-2011, 12:32   #10
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Re: Idiot needs anchoring advice (please)

30-35 feet depth is pretty much standard here in Hawaii. Depending on where you are and what the weather is predicted to do you can use 3 to 1 scope or 4 to 1 scope with all chain and a 45lb anchor if need be. 5 to 1 is better of course and 7 to 1 is for very windy conditions.
I agree with what others have said. Practice is the key.
kind regards,
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Old 14-06-2011, 12:37   #11
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Re: Idiot needs anchoring advice (please)

Wow.. 35'? That means (35+4)*7 = 273' of rode (or 6 boat lengths for a 45')! The swing radius would be huge. I suppose the deeper the water... the further apart you have to be from other boats?
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Old 14-06-2011, 12:37   #12
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Re: Idiot needs anchoring advice (please)

1) What I do is I figure out the depth and do a mental calculation in my head how much rode everyone else has out. I use this information to try to figure out where their anchors are on the bottom (presuming you can't see them). I then try to position the anchor in a safe place relative to their anchors. Of course everyone will swing, but you have to assume that you're going to swing in the same way they are, unless any of them are stern tied that is. Depending on the bottom and the anchor and how quickly it digs in, I try to go 10ft up wind or so of that spot where I want my anchor to be because I assume the anchor won't set right away (perhaps different if you have a rocna?). Visualize the circles that are made when you swing, with the centre of the circle at the anchor and don't let the circles cross paths. When you drop anchor stay on the boat for a few hours to observe the wind shifts. Don't be too quick to go ashore to party. By observing the wind shifts you can figure out exactly where everyone elses anchors are and you can identify those people that have lots of rode out. People with all chain rodes react differently in light winds than people with a chain/line mix, since sometimes is just the weight of the chain keeping them in position and not the anchor itself.. this means their circle appears smaller than it really is especially when the wind picks up.


2) anchor off the stern. Make sure your stern anchor has enough rode to it before you set off from the dock. You should have two full length rodes with good anchors just in case

3) Pull up the anchor only as fast as their is slack in the rode. Don't pull with the windlass. Don't pull too slowly that your backing over your rode.

4) Get a GPS that has an anchor alarm. I've never really used one but yet again I hear they're handy.

5) When the forecast says 30knots+. Do all your prep work BEFORE the system hits, not during. Find a different anchorage if necessary, one that is more suitable for the wind coming in that direction. Have a plan set if you start to drag. Talk to everyone else upwind of you and figure out what they're doing so you can prepare if they start to drag. Be more prepared than anyone else in the anchorage.
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Old 14-06-2011, 12:39   #13
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Re: Idiot needs anchoring advice (please)

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdeese View Post
1. Pick the right spot (I need some help here). Insure that at lowtide there will be enough depth for the boat's draft.
2. Drop the anchor and start immediatly back up directly downwind.
3. Let out 5:1 to 7:1 scope. So, I'm assuming that is (depth at high tide + 4' above the waterline) * 7. For 12' of high tide depth.. that is (12+4)*7 = 112'.. which seems like a lot.
4. Continue backing to "set" the anchor.
5. After you feel the "set", continue with reverse gear and give it some throttle to insure that the anchor holds.
1. Don't make the rookie mistake of concluding that the "RIGHT SPOT" is right next to the other guy, since he must know more than you. There's nothing an experienced cruiser hates more than having a mile of open anchorage, and then some rook drops his hook as close to where you dropped yours as he can get.

2. No. Don't start backing immediately. Wait until you're certain the hook is on the bottom. I never start backing until I've got at least 50' of chain out. Some folks are in such a hurry to set things that the hook quite literally never touches the sand, it's just trolled behind in mid-water.

3. 5:1 for chain. 7:1 for nylon. And remember that in a crowded anchorage, too much chain is a bad thing. Before you decide on a scope, first thing to do is find out how much rode everyone else has out.

4. Don't be too aggressive with the backing. Taking your time stretching out the chain gives you a better idea what the wind and current are trying to do. If you habitually end up somewhere you didn't want to be once you turned the engine off (like your example of being too close to the beach) it's probably because your putting more faith in your engine than in your ability to read an anchorage.

5. Don't listen the the folks that tell you to set the hook full throttle. That's okay for little boats with goofy little props. The bigger the boat, the less likely you'll accomplish anything good with your throttle by giving the hook those extra RPMs. Seriously, once the chain is stretched out tight so that it's running at a shallow angle to the bow and looks straight, it's set.
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Old 14-06-2011, 12:45   #14
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Re: Idiot needs anchoring advice (please)

"first thing to do is find out how much rode everyone else has out."

Do people really motor up and ask "how much rode you have out?" Is that normal?

Thanks
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Old 14-06-2011, 12:54   #15
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Re: Idiot needs anchoring advice (please)

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdeese View Post
"first thing to do is find out how much rode everyone else has out."

Do people really motor up and ask "how much rode you have out?" Is that normal?

Thanks
that is not always relevant. if you HAVE to see how much someone else has out, you are waaay too close.
too much chain is a whole lot better than too much rope rode, as rope rode has a tendency to allow the boat to use all of the anchorage and chain does not . chain keeps ye put.
what is too much chain anyway--in windy areas , aint no sucha thing as too much chain..LOL
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